As businesses continue to grow, the need for specialised talent, cost savings and improved efficiencies becomes increasingly important. One way that businesses have been able to achieve these goals is by outsourcing certain functions to offshore teams. While outsourcing can bring many benefits, it can also present unique challenges when it comes to managing offshore employees. This blog explores these challenges in more detail.
How outsourcing affects your local teams
Outsourcing has become a common practice in many businesses, as it allows companies to access specialised talent, reduce costs and improve efficiency. However, outsourcing can also have a significant impact on local teams, including those who will be working with the outsourced hire.
- Outsourcing can change the roles and responsibilities of local teams, requiring them to shift their focus to other areas or take on new tasks.
- Outsourcing can impact team morale, as team members may perceive it as a threat to their job security.
- Cultural differences may arise when working with an outsourced hire from a different country or region, which can create challenges for the local team.
- Outsourcing can free up local team members to focus on higher-level tasks or strategic initiatives, which can lead to professional growth and increased value to the company.
- Working with an outsourced hire can provide opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration and learning, which can be a positive experience for the local team.
Outsourcing can have a significant impact on local teams, both positive and negative. By communicating openly and transparently with their teams, providing training and support to bridge cultural differences and helping team members adapt to changing roles and responsibilities, companies can prepare their teams for success when working with an outsourced hire.
Why have businesses resorted to outsourcing?
Businesses resort to outsourcing for access to specialised talent, cost savings, improved efficiency and scalability.
- Access to specialised talent: outsourcing allows businesses to access specialised talent that may not be available locally or that may be too expensive to hire full-time in-house. This can enable businesses to complete projects more efficiently and with greater expertise.
- Cost savings: outsourcing can often be less expensive than hiring full-time employees, especially when it comes to functions like customer service or administrative tasks. Outsourcing can also help businesses save on overhead costs like office space and equipment.
- Improved efficiency: outsourcing can help businesses improve their efficiency by enabling them to focus on core competencies and strategic initiatives while leaving non-core functions to outsourced hires. This can help businesses operate more leanly and effectively.
- Scalability: outsourcing can help businesses scale up or down quickly to meet changing demand, without having to hire or lay off employees. This can be especially valuable for startups or businesses with fluctuating demand.
How to manage outsourced employees
Once you have decided to outsource certain functions of your business, it is essential to have effective management strategies in place to ensure the success of the collaboration.
Building cultural awareness
When managing outsourced employees, it's important to recognise and understand cultural differences, establish clear communication channels, set expectations around work quality and acknowledge their contributions. Building cultural awareness and creating opportunities for team members to learn about each other's cultures can help to address cultural differences. Clear guidelines around roles, responsibilities and data security should also be established. Providing opportunities for career development and acknowledging their contributions can help to create a positive work environment.
Establishing communication guidelines
Establishing communication guidelines is crucial for managing outsourced employees. This involves setting up regular communication channels and schedules, encouraging the use of collaboration tools and platforms and defining clear expectations for communication style and frequency. Strategies should also be developed for overcoming language barriers and other communication challenges. By prioritising effective communication, businesses can build trust and rapport with outsourced employees and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Clarifying roles and responsibilities
Clarifying roles and responsibilities is another important aspect of managing outsourced employees. This involves defining clear roles and responsibilities for both onshore and offshore team members, ensuring that everyone understands their tasks and how they fit into the project. It's also important to clarify how the onshore and offshore teams will collaborate and work together, to avoid duplication of efforts or miscommunication.
Encouraging transparency and accountability throughout the project can also help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. This includes setting up regular check-ins and progress updates and establishing clear metrics and benchmarks for success. By clarifying roles and responsibilities, businesses can ensure that outsourced employees are integrated seamlessly into the project and can contribute to its success.
Providing the right support
Providing the right support is essential for managing outsourced employees. This involves providing the necessary training and resources for both onshore and offshore team members and addressing any skill gaps or knowledge deficiencies that could impact the project. Ongoing support and feedback should also be offered to ensure that everyone is on track and meeting project goals.
Encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing between onshore and offshore team members can also help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. This can include setting up regular team meetings, encouraging the use of collaboration tools and platforms and providing opportunities for cross-training and skill development.
Managing expectations is a critical part of managing outsourced employees. This involves setting realistic expectations for the project timeline, budget and outcomes, and being transparent and honest about potential challenges and roadblocks.
Encouraging open communication and feedback can also help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Celebrating successes and milestones can also help to build team morale and motivation, and create a positive work environment.